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REA Scholarship Psychology : Intergenerational engagement interventions for enhanced cognition in older age.

The UK is ageing rapidly. Age-related decline in cognitive abilities like memory and attention is among the most feared aspects of ageing, with implications for quality of life and independence. Lifestyle factors such as social engagement, new learning, and physical activity may be beneficial for cognitive functioning in older age. School-based intergenerational engagement is a promising approach to enhancing cognition in older age. This involves placing trained older adult volunteers into local schools to help children‘s educational and social skills. 
While contributing knowledge, expertise, and social support to their local communities, older adult participants have shown improved cognitive performance, enhanced brain structure and functioning, and better physical and lifestyle activity levels. 
Beginning in October 2017, this PhD project is aimed at developing and implementing an evidence-based intergenerational engagement programme within Scotland. A pilot trial will assess a range of cognitive abilities in older adult volunteers, before and after the intervention. We will also assess the volunteers’ experiences of the intervention, and key outcomes for the schools involved.
  • Number of scholarships 1
  • Value £14,510
  • Opens 20 January 2017
  • Deadline 3 April 2017
  • Help with Tuition fees, Living costs, Travel costs
  • Duration 3 years


Candidates must have an honours degree in psychology with a classification of as least 2:1 (Second Class Upper) and/or an MSc Psychology.

Degrees in other related disciplines may be considered.
Previous experience with research design and analysis is essential.
Previous experience of congnitive testing and/or research with older adult participants would be beneficial, as would previous experience with E-Prime or similar experiment generating software.

Project Details

The student will benefit from further expert supervision by Dr Alan Gow (Heriot-Watt University, third supervisor on the project), and expert input from international collaborators on the project (Dr Michelle Carlson & Dr George Rebok, Johns Hopkins University). Generations Working Together, who have an established intergenerational network in Scotland, are also collaborating on the project.

Contact us

Email :


How to apply

Candidates must apply on-line via PEGASUS at and choose “PhD Psychology”.  
Candidates should include:
• CV 
• Research proposal of no more than 1000 words, which includes a clear research question, and explanation of why it is highly original, and an outline of a timetable for tackling the project. 
• Covering letter describing in detail your interest in and suitability for undertaking this project 
• Degree transcripts (this may be an interim transcript if you are still studying) 
• *Two academic references
*These may be provided directly from your referees if they would prefer and should be sent to no later than the deadline of 3 April 2017. Email subject should contain: applicant name + phrases “Reference” and “REA Application”